While it wasn’t an easy road, the top seed Newark Norsemen capture the 1978 Little Ten Conference Tournament
Championship. Newark and their head coach Chuck Nelson first defeated Somonauk 65-49 then bested No. 4 seed Leland in a 81-76
overtime thriller in the semifinals. They then meet rival and third seeded Serena in the title game. Norsemen Tracy Clausel
had a tip in late in regulation to send the game into overtime and in the extra session sank a 8-footer with 11 seconds left
to seal the victory and the championship.
The Huskers reached the final game with hard fought wins over Paw Paw (68-62) and Shabbona (62-59). Shabbona went on the
capture the third place game, defeating Leland 62-54.
LELAND 48, HINCKLEY-BIG ROCK 44
Panther head coach Roger Dorio’s club trailed 22-20 at halftime, but went on a 15-6 third quarter run to wrap up
their seventh straight victory. Leland, who entered the tournament a perfect 5-0 in regular season conference play, was led
by Cecil Miller’s 11 points. Dan Shumway netted 10 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Marty Brown had a team-high
SERENA 68, PAWPAW 62
The game was tied at 44-all entering the four quarter. Serena senior Mike Warren scored nine of his 20 points in the final
period to help the Huskers to the win. Warren also added 11 rebounds in the game as Serena advanced to the semifinals. Brian
Bardson chipped in with 13 points for Al Stegman’s Huskers, who nailed 20-of-22 free throws. Paw Paw was led by DeWayne
Smith’s 20 points.
NEWARK 65, SOMONAUK 49
The Norsemen led just 27-23 at halftime over the eight-seeded Bobcats, who had defeated No. 9 seed Waterman in the tournament’s
opening game. A 22-6 third quarter advantage by Newark put the game out of reach for the upset minded Bobcats. Three-year
senior starter Tracy Clausel had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Norsemen, while Warren Peterson and Mark Chelsen added
nice games with 13 and 12 points respectively. Somonauk was led by 12 points from Eric Voss and 10 points, 10 rebounds from
SHABBONA 52, MALTA 37
Shabbona ran off to a 13-3 first quarter lead and never looked back. Cass Larson led the Indians with 17 points, sophomore
Larry Hickey added 13 and John Herrick 12. Malta was paced by Jim Cardine’s nine points.
NEWARK 81, LELAND 76 (OVERTIME)
Top seed Newark led at halftime 38-19 and had a 23-point lead during the first half. Leland, the fourth seed, was able
to slice the disadvantage to 13 entering the fourth period and completed a miraculous comeback when Dirk Gunderson hit a pair
of free throws with eight seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 71-all. Cecil Miller had a chance to win the game
at the end of regulation for the Panthers, but his 22-footer at the buzzer came up short. In overtime, after a Leland foul,
the Panther bench received a technical foul. Newark’s Brad Mathre hit two of three on the 1-and-1 and technical free
throws to give Newark a 75-73 lead. Warren Peterson extended the lead with a baseline jumper with 1:21 left in overtime to
make it 78-73. Miller scored a hoop for Leland, but Newark quickly answered with a clutch hook shot by Mathre with 40 seconds
left and Peterson sealed the win with two free throws with six seconds left.
Rich Mau topped Newark with 21 points, Mathre 16, Peterson 15. Leland was led by Dan Shumway’s 21 points, Miller
chipped in 20.
SERENA 62, SHABBONA 59
Serena’s Mike Warren sprained an ankle in practice a day after the Huskers opening round win over Paw Paw and wasn't
at 100-percent and doubtful to play. The senior did play and managed to overcome the pain to score a game-high 23 points (seven
in the 4th quarter) and pull down 13 rebounds as the Huskers advanced to the title game with a come for behind
62-59 win. Shabbona led 42-38 entering the final period and 50-44 with 5:30 to play before Serena went to a full-court press.
The Huskers forced three consecutive Indian turnovers, the last turning into a Giles Eddy basket to give the Huskers the lead
for good at 51-50 with 3:56 to play.
“We went to the press with about five minutes to play,” Husker head coach Al Stegman told the Ottawa Times
after the game. “We got a couple of baskets off it and once we got over the hump, everything was all right.”
Brian Bardson had 10 points for Stegman’s Huskers, who used three different players to shut down Shabbona star Cass
Larson (five points). Ray Richardson led the Indians with 16 points.
THIRD PLACE GAME
SHABBONA 62, LELAND 54
The Indians led 40-39 to begin the fourth quarter and then out-scored the Panthers 22-15 to take third place honors. Leland,
who turned the ball over 24 times in the contest, was led by Cecil Miller’s 14 points, Roger Merkel added 13. John Herrick
paced Shabbona with 15 points, Phil Foster chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
NEWARK 58, SERENA 56 (OVERTIME)
It was the third meeting of the season for the two long time rivals. The Huskers had defeated Newark 71-69 on their home
floor, while Newark beat Serena 58-57 in the consolation championship game of the Plano Christmas Tournament.
After sinking the game tying shot to send the game into overtime, senior Tracy Clausel suffered an ankle injury with 1:40
left I the extra period. The 6-foot-5 Clausel reentered the game with 27 seconds remaining, just in time to seal the victory
with a 8-foot jumper with 11 seconds left.
“When I twisted my ankle, I motioned to Coach (Chuck) Nelson that I wouldn’t be able to guard (Mike) Warren
(Serena’s top player),” explained Clausel to the Ottawa Times. “Coach thought I wanted to come out. I just
wanted to switch players. It was to important to be out because of my ankle.”
Inside 15 seconds to play in overtime, Newark’s Warren Peterson drove to the hoop, but was trapped and passed to
Clausel for the game winning bank shot.
That was the best we’ve played all year,” Nelson told the Ottawa Times following the game. “It took a
lot of guts for Clausel and Rich Mau (who also sprained an ankle in the overtime)to stay in there.”
After tying the game late in regulation, Newark actually had a chance to end the game after the final horn had sounded.
Clausel’s 20-footer with two seconds remaining missed and Mau was fouled at the buzzer, however he missed the front
end of the 1-and-1, leaving the game tied. Serena had two chances to knot the score after Clausel’s late overtime bucket,
but each long shot hit the rim and bounced away.
“The thing of it is with Newark, you’ve got to put pressure on the ball, front the ball and watch the weak
side,” said Serena head coach Al Stegman to the Ottawa Times. “We were getting two of those things done, but sometimes
the third one wasn’t there.”
Warren Peterson led Newark with 22 points, most of his baskets coming from long range, keeping Serena‘s man-to-man
defense off guard. The 6-foot-5 Mau added 14 and the hero Clausel 11. Serena was paced by Mike Warren’s 24 points on
12-of-17 shooting, Tom Hoxsey added 10 points for the Huskers who only had one free throw attempt in the game.
FGA FG PCT. FTA FT PF PTS
Warren 17 12 70.9
0 0 1 24
Hitchins 8 4 50.0
0 0 1 8
16 3 18.8 0 0 2 6
Hoxsey 10 5
50.0 1 0 5 10
Erickson 4 2 50.0
0 0 4 4
Bardson 2 1
50.0 0 0 3 2
1 50.0 0 0 0 2
-- -- ---- -- -- -- --
Totals 49 28 57.1
1 0 16 56
FG PCT. FTA FT PF PTS
5 55.5 1 1 1 11
11 7 63.6 1 0 3 14
3 43.0 0 0 1 6
2 40.0 2 1 2 5
Peterson 16 9 56.3
7 4 0 22
P.Anderson 0 0 00.0 0
0 0 0
Monkemeyer 0 0 00.0 0
0 0 0
-- -- ---- -- -- -- --
Totals 48 26 54.2
11 6 7 58
Score by quarters
14 12 16 10 4 - 56
13 11 16 12 6 - 58